Ghislaine Maxwell Found Guilty of Assisting Jeffrey Epstein in Sex Abuse of Young Girls

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty of aiding Jeffrey Epstein in the sex trafficking and abuse of young girls.

Maxwell was found guilty of five out of the six counts she was charged with, including sex trafficking of minors. She was also convicted of conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, and conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. Due to her sex trafficking conviction, she faces a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

The only charge that she was acquitted of was enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. An explanation for this acquittal by the jury has not been provided.

The jury deliberated for five days before reaching the decision in a highly publicized month-long trial. She faces years in prison with a sentencing date yet to be released. Twenty-four witnesses were called throughout the trial, with the majority of them coming from the prosecution. Many of these witnesses had previously worked with Maxwell and Epstein, who were business partners and former lovers.

However, perhaps the most critical witnesses were those of three of Maxwell's victims. These women, who were given one-name pseudonyms to protect their identities, recounted the abuse they faced at the hands of the socialite and the billionaire when they were teenage girls. They testified that Maxwell used charm and gifts to entice them into getting jobs helping to massage Epstein in his home so that he can help them achieve their dreams.

Maxwell still awaits trial on two separate counts of perjury.

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Ghislaine Maxwell, shown here at the ETM 2014 Children's Benefit Gala at Capitale on May 6, 2014, has been found guilty on five of six counts of sex trafficking on Wednesday. Paul Zimmerman/Getty

The defense had insisted Maxwell was a victim of a vindictive prosecution devised to deliver justice to women deprived of their main villain when Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial in 2019.

A housekeeper testified he was expected to be "blind, deaf and dumb" about the private lives of Epstein, a financier who cultivated friendships with influential politicians and business tycoons, and Maxwell, who had led a jet-setting lifestyle as the favorite child of a media mogul.

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In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell, center, sits in the courtroom during a discussion about a note from the jury, during her sex trafficking trial on December 29, 2021, in New York. Maxwell was found guilty of five out of six charges relating to sex trafficking and abuse. AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams

Pilots took the witness stand and dropped the names of luminaries—Britain's Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump—who flew on Epstein's private jets.

Jurors saw physical evidence like a folding massage table once used by Epstein and a "black book" that listed contact information for some of the victims under the heading "massages."

There were bank records showing he had transferred $30.7 million to Maxwell, his longtime companion.

The victims that took the stand said the script would darken when Maxwell coaxed them into giving massages to Epstein that turned sexual, encounters she played off as normal: After one sexual massage, Kate, then 17, said Maxwell asked her if she'd had fun and told her: "You are such a good girl."

Carolyn testified that she was one of several underprivileged teens who lived near Epstein's Florida home in the early 2000s and took up an offer to give massages in exchange for $100 bills, which prosecutors described as "a pyramid of abuse."

Maxwell made all the arrangements, Carolyn told the jury, even though she knew the girl was only 14 at the time.

Jane said in 1994, when she was only 14, she was instructed to follow Epstein into a pool house at his Palm Beach estate, where he masturbated on her.

The lone count on which Maxwell was acquitted applied only to Jane.

"I was frozen in fear," she told the jury, adding that assault was the first time she had ever seen a penis. She also directly accused Maxwell of participating in her abuse.

Maxwell's lawyer asked Jane why it had taken so long to come forward.

"I was scared," she said, choking back tears. "I was embarrassed, ashamed. I didn't want anybody to know any of this about me."

The last to testify, Farmer described how Maxwell touched her breasts while giving her a massage at Epstein's New Mexico ranch and how Epstein unexpectedly crawled into bed and pressed himself against her.

Maxwell, 60, vehemently denied the charges through her lawyers.

Still, she declined to take the risk of testifying, telling the judge: "The government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt so there is no reason for me to testify."

"The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things that Jeffrey Epstein did," one of Maxwell's lawyers, Bobbi Sternheim, emphasized to the jury. "But she is not Jeffrey Epstein and she is not like Jeffrey Epstein."

Maxwell's legal team questioned whether the accusers' memories were faulty, or had been influenced by lawyers seeking big payouts from Maxwell and from Epstein's estate in civil court.

During their two-day presentation, they called as a witness Elizabeth Loftus, a University of California Irvine professor who has testified as a memory expert for defense lawyers at about 300 trials, including the rape trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

She said memory can be contaminated by suggestions made by an interviewer, particularly law enforcement or the media.

Maxwell's family—faithfully in attendance each day of the trial—complained she was under duress from harsh conditions at the Brooklyn jail where she's been held since her arrest in July 2020. She had repeatedly, and futilely, sought bail, arguing that she was unable to adequately contribute to her defense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Thurgood Marshall Federal Court
Judge Alison Nathan warned of a race against time due to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus, telling the jury in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial to deliberate every day until a verdict is reached, including on New Years Day. Above, members of the media sit in vehicles outside the Thurgood Marshall Federal Court House in Manhattan as jury deliberations continue in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell on December 29 in New York. Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images


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